the road ahead

Generational Bible Habits?
October 26, 2009, 8:05 pm
Filed under: business, ministry, spirituality


The Barna Group reports in a recent study that a number of significant differences in Bible reading habits exist between generational groups. One very interesting section of the survey focused on the six ways the Mosaic generation differs from older generational groups.

Mosaics view the Bible as:

Less Sacred: The Bible is not considered sacred by a smaller group of Mosaics.

Lees Accurate: Mosaics consider the Bible less accurate than older generations viewed it.

More Universalism: Over 50% of Mosaics believe the Bible teaches the same spiritual principles as other sacred books.

Less Engagement: Mosaics are less likely to read the Bible as part of their regular schedule.

Bible Appetite: The good news is that Mosaics express a greater desire than other generational groups to learn more about the Bible.

As we reflect on these survey results. it is interesting to note that the Bible is still  the No. 1 top-seller for Christian publishing houses. So how do we help the younger generation discover and experience the power of God’s Word?

What do you think?


3 Comments so far
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Great post. I think the key to you article is in definitions…

As I look at each of the shifts, I see very positive trends afoot. but some may say we have lost ground.

Less Sacred – perhaps that means it is a more approachable writing, not meant to compete with others but to enlighten.

Lees Accurate – perhaps we have moved away from placing an undue burden on the scriptures to be a “science text” or “history lesson” and more of a story about our relationship with God and our neighbor.

More Universalism – perhaps then next mark of a disciple will be to see what we have in-common with others, rather than focus on what divides us – embarrassing love over fear.

Less Engagement – perhaps “different engagement”, just like your post on literacy – people are “reading” in non-traditional ways. Beyond reading they are approaching the use of the bible as more than a study. Consider how movies, poetry or music are dealing with the spiritual issues of the day and how involved people are with dialoguing about these “bible stories”.

Bible Appetite – this may be the best evidence for my observations above. Why do we see these as losses, when they say “they are interested”? Perhaps we want then to learn/engage/use the bible as we did. That will not happen – just as it did not happen with our parents and their parents. Use of the bible has radically changed with each generation since the printing press. And now with the advent of the internet the next evolution will transpire.

So, back to the beginning – I think the key to you article is in definitions… the question maybe one for each of us to answer. What do we mean when we say “help the younger generation discover and experience the power of God’s Word”?

Perhaps we need to evaluate how we evaluate others. Re-examine what we think “success” is for discovery and experience. Ultimately we may need to let the next generation define “the power of God’s Word”…


Comment by Spencer Burke

Sorry I meant “embracing love” not embarrassing love – typo/spell checker…


Comment by Spencer Burke

under Mosaics’ view the Bible, you list categories – 1. Less Sacred
and 2. Lees Accurate – I believe you mean it to be ‘Less Accurate,’ unless you are being funny about Mosaics’ view of accuracy 🙂
I am unaware of a Mosaic generation as our small church tends to view the Bible as authoritative and the children grow up with this understanding. I do not believe any of them have been interviewed by Barna!

Comment by Kurt Wolfe

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